SHARING THE BOUNTY

  • Old Hebron Church Part 4

    PROGRESS (noun prog-res; verb pruh-gres) a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage, growth or development, forward or onward movement……
    We started this JOURNEY with one goal in mind, saving the Old Hebron Church. We knew the PROGRESSION would be slow but the MOMENTUM would INCREASE as we made HEADWAY. It has been fun watching the EVOLUTION of this old building. The COURSE we have chosen has not always been an easy EXPEDITION. Some days have only seen a slow RISE in DEVELOPMENT while others, the PACE of GROWTH was quick. However, each day has brought us closer to our goal, the BETTERMENT of Hebron. The MOTION of the workers as they ADVANCE through each stage of the PROCESS is mesmerizing not to mention the DEVELOPMENTS that are UNFOLDING daily. We are taking a STEP FORWARD with each IMPROVEMENT. And as we give Hebron new life, we are giving a BOOST to Pearson Farm and our community. Hebron’s renewal is bringing a BUILDUP of Hope, a PROMOTION of Family and a MOVEMENT of Life to Pearson Farm……. Don’t you just love PROGRESS?

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  • The Old Hebron Church Part 3

    Mr. Al and his sisters spent most of their growing up in Zenith. Their work, play and worship all happened in a 2-mile radius with Hebron being at the center of it all. They were the last generation of the Pearson family to attend Hebron and it certainly left its mark on them. Their stories are similar with many of their memories being the same…… sweet Mrs. Reed, carving soap during VBS, cooking lunch for the preacher, dinner on the ground, and Mr. Al always getting his head thumped during services. They fondly remember their daddy leading the music. Songs like “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart”, “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder”, and “Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling”, being a few of their favorites. They were proud to share that their momma taught the only adult Sunday School class and kept the church records. All 3 spoke the same friends, family and neighbors names during our times together. “Home Folks” was the word that kept coming to my mind…… my momma always told me, “you take care of home folks like they're kin”, and I’m certain that the Pearsons followed this same theory as they shared stories of helping those in need. It is obvious that their roots are deep in this red dirt of Zenithland.
    I could share their stories along with those told by others all day long, but I’ve realized that what’s more important than these memories, is the fact all these “Hebron children” share a foundation of faith that was instilled during their years attending this special little church. Ms. Peggy, Mr. Al’s oldest sister wrote me a letter detailing her time spent at Hebron. Her words are true, beautiful and so heart felt. I’d like to share an excerpt of it with you today….

    “I was 9 years old and like Prissy in 'Gone With The Wind', when she lally-gagged up to Miss Scarlet’s house, I walked up the aisle not knowing what I was doing, just sorted drifted up there and became a Methodist. I don’t know whether Jesus came into my heart that day--- we sang the old song, “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought when Jesus came into my heart”--- but I do know this about my faith, going to Hebron Church set a pattern in my life that never left me. We were THERE no matter what. We didn’t think about whether we wanted to go, whether we felt like going, we went. It was as much a part of the week in the life of our family as sitting down together for meals. We were involved and needed. Hebron Church was of primary importance. Celebrations of the year were observed there, a rhythm of life established. I watched as people I knew and loved went through hardships, trials, grief. In particular, I remember Aunt Bessie Tribble, my grandfather John Pearson’s sister. She lost a baby at birth, a son when he fell from a peach truck, a son in a wreck when he was a student at UGA, and finally her mate. I watched her as she knelt at the altar to take communion and somehow, I knew, even as a child, that she loved God and although she didn’t choose her loss, she was in submission to her Lord’s sovereignty in her life. That picture of her at the altar is still with me……… The life of the songs, the loyalty, faith, responsibility, family connections; the kindness, gentleness, forgiveness and acceptance all experienced, received and learned at Hebron Church are remembered, with so much gratitude, in my 77th year.” Peggy Pearson Jerles

    Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people sitting  Ms. Laurie and her children (Peggy, Ann and Al)

     

    Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, people walking, tree and outdoor  Peggy, Ann and Al outside the church

     

    Image may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor  Ms. Reed and her family at the church

  • The Old Hebron Church Part 2

    Hebron Church closed their doors more than 50 years ago, so finding members to share memories has been challenging. However, we were so pleased to locate Ms. Estelle Pyles, one of the oldest living members. She graciously agreed to spend the morning with me and Mr. Al to talk about the church. She tells us that she started going to Hebron when she was 11 years old. By my calculations, that would be the early 1930’s, and she attended until the doors closed. She wasn’t in agreement with closing the church doors, and who could blame her. After attending the same little church in Zenith for more than 30 years, having to find a new church home would be a hard pill to swallow. She was so excited to hear of Mr. Al’s “salvation of the church”, and hopes they’ll be a service here once we’re finished, so she can come back. Despite her advanced years, her mind was sharp and full of detail as she shared many stories of her years at Hebron.

    She only remembers one wedding, that of her sister and a couple funerals held at Hebron. Mrs. Reed’s was the only funeral she recollects attending. Mrs. Reed’s name has come up in every conversation I’ve had with people about the church. I hear that she had her own pew, right up front. She was soft and squishy, always wore a hat, and was invariably seen with the sweetest expression on her face. Mr. Al’s sister, Peggy, says that she remembers, “looking up into Mrs. Reed’s face and seeing the sweetness of Jesus looking down at me.”

    When Ms. Estelle was a young girl, the church decided that the youth should go to church camp. The Dooly Campground sent a “what to bring” list for the week. This list was comprised of personal items, bedding and food. The food included bread, eggs and LIVE chickens!! They had to take 2 cars, so they chose Mrs. Reed’s and Ms. Estelle’s mother’s. Mrs. Reed’s car was the largest so they strapped the chicken coup on the back of it. Mrs. Reed knew a short cut so off they went. The short cut turned out to be almost entirely dirt roads, and there had been a lot of rain. They started down a big hill on a particularly muddy road, and as they approached the bottom, Ms. Estelle’s mother attempted to apply the brakes to no avail, and she ran smack into the back of Mrs. Reed’s car. Ms. Estelle said, “as luck would have it, she didn’t kill them all.” They gathered up what was left of the chickens and kept moving. When they pulled up at the campground, she said they expected to see dormitories, but instead there was only a long wooden building. Lining the interior walls were rows of wooden cots but no mattresses. Ms. Estelle said, “they had hay……that’s what we had to sleep on!! They left us there bawling that day. No bed, no swimming pool….. but when the week was over, we didn’t want to leave.”

    The longer we talked that morning, the more she remembered. It was like opening a flood gate…….. playing in the front yard of the church, training union at Benevolence, taking turns feeding the preacher and always burning the rolls when it was their turn to host. She told us about riding the caboose to the Tribble Packing Shed and the sweetest story of her daddy piling a whole bunch of them in the back of his truck and taking them to a swimming pool one particularly hot summer afternoon. She remembered an interesting WMU luncheon when every woman brought pimento cheese sandwiches. Her eyes lit up as she recalled that day and how hard they laughed.
    My favorite part of the morning was listening to Mr. Al and her talk about the “Pyles' Peanut Boils” she and her husband, Mr. Tommy would host. They started as a social for the Sunday School. Mr. Tommy, who took up the offering at church, would dig up the peanuts and bring them to the yard on a sled. The children would come over and pick the peanuts from the plants to put in the boiling pot. Once the peanuts were done, everyone would sit around eating the peanuts talking, laughing, sharing life……. As she and Mr. Al discussed the details of these special events, it was apparent they were a highlight from Mr. Al’s childhood. It was so fun witnessing this exchange.

    As we got ready to leave, Ms. Estelle says, “see that Bible there?”. We both look over and see a very ornate, very large Bible sitting on the table by the window. She says, “that’s the Hebron Bible.” I know if someone had seen Mr. Al and me they would have laughed because I’m pretty sure both our mouths were wide open, and we were speechless. It was like a gift…..first this wonderful morning spent sharing stories with Mr. Al and his first Sunday School teacher, and then to touch this important part of history was almost overwhelming. Before we left, I took a picture of the two of them with the Bible…..it felt like a really significant moment. I know for me, it was honor to re-live some very special memories with these two people. I love the historical significance of everything I am learning about this old church, but I am made aware daily that Hebron was so much more than the 4 walls of the building. To be continued…….

    Image may contain: plant, sky, tree, house and outdoor  The Old Hebron Church

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    Renovation progress of the Sunday School Room and Sanctuary

    No automatic alt text available.  The Old Hebron Church Bible

    Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and shoes  Mr. Al and Ms. Estelle (his Sunday School teacher)

     

  • The Old Hebron Church

     

    Walking on the Farm this afternoon, I was reminded why Spring is my favorite time of year. I just love those bright, blue skies filled with fluffy, white clouds, coupled with beautiful rays of sunshine that have just a hint of heat kept at bay by the gentle spring breezes. I am mesmerized by the light green color of the new leaves on the pecan trees and the pretty pink blooms of peaches. I can’t get enough of the sounds coming from insects, birds and squirrels, all proclaiming “Wake up! It’s time to shake off the cobwebs of the dark, cold Winter, and get ready for the beauty of what’s in store.”

    It’s never been lost on me that Easter falls in the Spring season. The transition from Winter to Spring is like a physical manifestation of that dark, cold day when Jesus gave his life for us on the cross, and the beautiful morning when he arose, showing us all what God has in store for us, if we just believe his promises. Spring is our promise that life goes on, and that God is in control.

    At Pearson Farm, we are working to bring new life to an old friend. Hebron Church has been a part of the Zenith Community as far back as the mid 1800’s. In 1870, the Ordinary of Crawford County was required to execute title of the Old Hebron Church to the trustees. It was to be used as a place of worship by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A beautifully handwritten deed describes the land like this.... “5 acres beginning at the black jack tree in the east line of said lot where the old church stood and running west to the pine tree corner then north to the sweet gum corner then east with the meander of the branch to the line lot” ……. I would have loved to walk the property with the person who described the land that way! Sweet Gum Corner.....Meander of the Branch…. splendid words from someone who lived many generations ago. The deed also required that the premises be well kept, maintained, and disposed of as a place of Divine worship. The records don’t indicate why, but for some reason, the deed wasn’t recorded until 1883, when the Ordinary of Crawford County conferred with the original requirement and sold the property for the sum of one dollar to the trustees of Hebron Church.

    Even though the state didn’t officially recognize the Hebron Church until the late 1870’s records containing church roles have been found documenting membership as far back as 1857. These roles are also handwritten and show names and membership dates. They also record deaths, weddings and various reasons members were added or removed from the roles. Some were dismissed by letter, while others transferred to different churches. One member was listed as "supposed to be dead”, and another was "on probation". However, the most interesting notation was that of the member who was" expelled". Thankfully, he was "restored" before his passing in1870.

    Hebron Church was on a circuit, sharing a pastor with three other churches. Sunday School was held every Sunday morning, but Preaching was only one Sunday per month, morning and evening. The church held services until sometime in the 60’s when membership dwindled, and the decision was made to close the doors.

    There seem to have been 3 sites for the church over the years. The original site being on Cummings road where a cemetery containing graves of members listed on the church roles can be found. The second was further down the road and housed the church until the late 30’s, when the new church was built on Zenith Mill Road. This new Hebron Church was a huge part of life for the Pearson family and many others who lived in Zenith. Their spiritual foundation began and was fostered within its walls. The building still stands on the Farm today, but over the years, has fallen into disrepair and has become nothing more than a storage facility. Lately, Mr. Al hasn’t liked the fact that the church is being used to house junk. He strongly desired to turn the church back into a place of serving for us, as well as the community. He felt like he owed it to Zenith, his home place. So…that’s what we’re doing, and we would like to invite you to follow us on our journey of restoring the Old Hebron Church, or as Mr. Al says, “the salvation of the Church.”
    It will be quite an undertaking; physically, financially and emotionally, but in the overwhelming moments we will fill ourselves with the words of a favorite hymn that was sung in the Old Hebron Church, Standing on the Promises of God……’Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.’

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  • Prayer Changes Things

    For as long as I can remember, a blue magnet shaped like a scroll with the words “Prayer Changes Things” hung on the door of the refrigerator at my house growing up. It’s one of those crazy things I took for granted as a child but when I see it hanging on my own refrigerator today, I am transported to times spent in that kitchen cooking with my mother and eating meals around our family table. Prayer was a constant in our life, and that little blue magnet has become a daily reminder of the importance prayer holds for all of us.
    As we slowly move through the first days of spring, we are constantly in prayer for the 2017 Peach Season. We are seeing daily evidence of the power of these prayers. Trumping the fact that we haven’t had enough chill hours during the dormant months, was the freeze we experienced last week. Several orchards are already in full bloom and some trees have baby peaches on their limbs. Thankfully, a wind was sent to blow all night during the frigid temperatures preventing a heavy frost from forming, and had it not been for the warm winter causing the early bloom, this crop would have been a complete loss. Inexplicably, on many of these trees, the limbs have dead peaches and LIVE ones on the same branches. The fact that we can find live peaches in every orchard means we still have a crop.
    As I spoke with Lawton this week for an update, he reminded me that, “as always, the One who is actually in control of growing this crop has His own plan…” and as we all know, His plan may not be our plan but He is good and will provide.
    So for now, we continue to pray, for we know….. “Prayer Changes Things”

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  • HOPE

    When you are a fruit and nut farmer and the success of your crop depends on many factors you cannot control, prayer and HOPE are as important to you as the equipment you use and workers you employ. As we make preparations to enter the 2017 Peach Season, we find ourselves relying heavily on prayer and HOPE. So, how interesting is it that one night a few weeks ago, Mr. Al and Ms. Mary were sitting down to dinner and their conversation turned to HOPE. Ms. Mary shared with Mr. Al that when her sister was in Scotland a few years ago, she found their family’s motto, “Dum spiro spero” which in Latin means “While I breathe, I HOPE.”

    These words really struck a cord with Mr. Al. So, he decided to google them and found that many families throughout history have used this as their motto and that Ms. Mary’s family (The Clan MacLennan) was actually the 2nd family listed and as he scrolled through the list of names, he surprisingly found the Pearson family listed as well. (after 44 years of marriage, this was a sweet reminder that they were meant to be together.) Something about these words, While I breathe, I HOPE” just wouldn’t leave him alone, so he has decided to adopt “Dum spiro spero” as Pearson Farm’s motto for the 2017 Peach Season.

    As peaches are a crop dependent on several factors that growers have no control over (frost, chill hours, hail), we must have HOPE and faith that things will work out and that there will be a crop to tend and sell. Without HOPE, a farmer would not plant trees and do everything it takes to prepare for the work to come. Because the first requirement (sufficient chill hours) has not been satisfied for our 2017 Peach Crop, we HOPE to overcome the deficit with different varieties, cultural practices, and a spray…. then we HOPE for no frost (if we have blooms)….then no hail…..HOPEfully, etc….gotta have HOPE before anything else…. Every Year!

    Romans 12:12 Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

     

  • My Office: by Al Pearson

    please enjoy this guest post from Mr. Al Pearson.....

    My office (peach and pecan orchards) is always pleasant, especially in the fall. But usually, pecan leaves just turn brown and fall off. Peach leaves vary in their final days, but seldom make a color statement. But not in 2016! The dry weather has given us colors that rival Gingko trees and it has been exciting to watch. If the leaves did this every year, I’m sure the roads would be crowded with “Leaf Lookers” enjoying the sights. Being “FAMILY” Friday, we decided to include a Pearson Family History from an article in the Georgia Post several years back…..
    THE PEARSON FARM: growing peaches for 125 years
    The Pearson farm has been in operation at Zenith and Lee Pope for 125 years. Its genesis dates back to 1885 when Moses Winlock Pearson purchased his first farmland and began growing peaches. In 1880, Moses (1858-1906) married Emma Carroll (1858-1934), their union producing 12 children: 6 boys and 6 girls. The 1900 census showed that the Pearson and Lee families were neighbors and their children would have played together. Moses died prematurely in 1906 at age 48, leaving Emma with a farm to manage and a large family to raise. John Winlock Pearson, the oldest child, age 24 at the time, assumed the burden of replacing the void created by his father’s untimely death, and keeping the farm profitable during difficult times. In 1915, John and his brother Oscar bought Lee Pope Fruit Company and began packing peaches under the “Big Six” brand label—named after Moses and Emma’s six boys: John, Oscar, Walter, William, James, and Clyde.

    John Winlock Pearson (1881-1958) married Rosa Lee Hartley (1187-1976). Their marriage produced three boys (Lawton, Russell, and Willard) and two girls (Virgie and Tina). Lawton’s peach packing shed was located near the railroad at Lee Pope; Willard and Russell’s in Fort Valley on the present site of the Harvey’s Grocery Store. When Lawton’s packing shed burned in 1961, he packed peaches in Fort Valley at Russell and Willard’s shed and continued for the next 13 years.

    In 1937, Lawton Pearson (1912-1979) married Laurie Lanier (1915-1981). The “Big 6” farmland was owned by their three children, Peggy Pearson Jerles, Ann Pearson McGehee, and Al Pearson from 1973 to 2008. In January 2008, Al and Lawton Pearson took over the farm operations as “Pearson Farm.” A mail order business was created to ship peaches, pecans, and seasonal gifts to individual and corporate customers. The Pearson farm comprises 1300 acres of peaches and 2300 acres of pecans. Bill McGehee (Ann’s husband and their son, Will, manage marketing operations for both peaches and pecans. The old Zenith School (established circa 1900 and closed in late 1940s) became the packing shed for “Big 6” in 1975 and is still in use.

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  • Alberto and Rosa continued

    I spent some one on one time with Rosa and Alberto earlier this week gathering information for the second part of their post. As I sat with Rosa in her backyard, I was compelled to jot down these few words, Humble, Gentle, Beautiful, Loving, and Strong. The words were written to remind me of certain aspects of our interview but as I sat down to finish the story, these 5 words became her story. From the quiet, unassuming way she sat patiently listening to Israel and me speak about her family, came HUMBLE and GENTLE. I imagine this was the same way she waited for her husband to return home after months of traveling and working to provide for their ever growing family. There was an occasional nod when she understood my English words but mostly just that same sweet expression. I’m sure her children have seen that same look many times as she has taken great care of them over the years. I found myself drawn to her BEAUTIFUL face. Every line telling a story of sacrifice, hard work, and commitment. Her eyes that danced when she spoke of her husband and children. Especially when she told me how glad she was when they were finally all together again and of the incredible pride she feels for her children today. But I was mostly enamored with her STRONG arms that wrapped Israel in the sweetest birthday embrace. The LOVE was palpable. I felt blessed when she wrapped those arms around me as we left that day. What a morning it had been already……

    We found Alberto riding around in his truck checking on peach trees. He was ringing with sweat. I told him that he must be working too hard but with a little smile, he quickly replied that it was just too hot. I asked him if as a young boy, he ever imagined that his life would look like it does today. He shared that after his father died, he began looking for ways to better himself and be an example for his brother. From the times he spent at the drive- in theater learning English to signing papers at the American Consulate agreeing to never be a burden on the United States, his main focus was always “looking for the right way. Many of those lessons he learned from the men in his life back in Mexico while many others were gleaned as he moved from state to state working and watching others. With tears in my eyes, I said the one thing I have waited weeks to say to him, “I know you must be so proud of the life you and Rosa have provided for your family and how successful each of your 8 children are today." His response was simple, “Thanks, maybe I planted a seed for them to follow.” Maybe?? I believe he definitely planted a seed and one that has grown roots as deep and strong as the trees that are planted here at Pearson Farm.
    As I thanked him for allowing me to highlight his family and their journey, he left me with these words for Mr. Al……. “I am infinitely grateful to the Pearson’s. From the very beginning, they took us into their life as if we were their family”……… Pearson Farm LOVES our “FAMILY”

    I want to thank all the people who have taken the time to follow our Pearson Farm page and read our stories. We have thoroughly enjoyed all your comments and posts. As peach season has come to an end, we will be taking a short hiatus to rest, relax and rejuvenate as we prepare for pecan season. We will pick up with our FAMILY posts in October. Don’t stop visiting however, we will be posting many pictures of what’s happening around the farm as we prepare for pecans. See you soon......

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  • Alberto and Rosa (Part 1)

    He’s 26 years old, and he and his brother have been working to support their family since the death of their father 9 years ago. The brothers look for work and do odd jobs to provide food for themselves and their mother. One day there's word of a program in California that is allowing immigrant labor to cross the border and help farmers since so many locals are away at war. They are able to locate a farm and begin working and saving money to bring back home. Finally, they have enough to buy a small plot of land in a small village in Mexico. They begin preparing the land and digging a well that they will use to make the adobes for their new home.

    She’s 22, living in a small village in Mexico with her family. Her job is to find the daily water supply. Most days she must walk long distances. One day 2 young men show up on the land next door. She watches them from a distance as they begin preparing the land and digging a well. Water was so scarce and this well was so close, she begins thinking that surely they wouldn’t miss a few buckets. So she watches and waits till they aren’t around, then slips over and draws a bucket of water from their well.

    And thus the game begins….he works and she watches….until one day, she isn’t quite as careful as usual and he walks up on her as she was drawing the water, she is so startled and when he asks what she is doing…… she nervously apologizes, telling him that she is just getting a little water and that she will dump it back in the well……. he tells her that she can keep it and that she is welcome to get water from his well every day. Their eyes have crossed and the rest is history….. Today, he’s 85 and she’s 81 and they have just finished another peach season at Pearson Farm. Rosa and Alberto and their children have been a huge part of the Pearson Farm Family as well as the peach industry in Middle Georgia for the past 30 years.

    Their farming experience is extensive but more impressive than their knowledge of agricultural practices is their sense of family. The brothers along with their mother have lived and traveled together their entire lives. The brothers married sisters and between the two families, had 15 children. In the early ‘70’s, the brothers petitioned for visas for their families to travel to the United States with them, and in 1974, they moved to Florida to begin work in the citrus groves. After years of traveling up and down the east coast in pickup trucks as migrant workers in tobacco fields, peach and apple orchards, cucumber and blueberry patches, they eventually end up at Pearson Farm looking for work after the Florida’s citrus crop was destroyed by a late frost. Does this sound familiar??? It should, remember Israel and Maribel that we highlighted earlier during the year? They are the 2 of Alberto and Rosa’s children who currently work at Pearson Farm but what you might not know is that every one of their 8 children along with Alberto’s brother, Rosa’s sister and their 7 children have at some time over the past 30 years drawn a pay check from Pearson Farm. Family working with Family working with Family…..check back with us next week as we continue their story……..

     

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  • Waiting on the Grey Van

    This has been my first full summer at Pearson Farm in many years, and it has definitely been a summer to remember. Long, hot days filled with the sights and sounds of the peach packing house, afternoon snacks of sweet, juicy peaches and more smiling faces than I could begin to count. We have guests show up who are just passing through, locals who need peaches for canning and baking, truck drivers picking up loads of peaches to carry across our great country and still others who come just to sit in our rocking chairs and enjoy a bowl of our delicious peach ice cream. Many are first time guests, and many more are repeat customers, but I have to admit, that the ones that show up every Tuesday morning about 10:00 am have come to be my favorites. My heart gets a little flutter when I see that grey van pull in the parking lot because I know the back is loaded down with peaches and the sweetest man is sitting in the passenger seat. The first time I met Mr. Otis, I felt an instant connection, a kindred spirit. He has a heart for children, a heart for the needy, a heart for the lonely…….he has a servant’s heart.

    As I have gotten to know Mr. Otis and the lovely ladies, Janet and Becky, who bring him every week, I quickly realized that he is surrounded by human angels. I could never begin to tell you what an impact that this man and these women have had on their community. Suffice it to say, that through their gift of gardening, they have changed the hearts and lives of thousands of men, women, and children throughout their community, and they have definitely left their mark on the heart of the Pearson Farm “FAMILY.”

    Every Tuesday morning during peach season, his grey van, along with many pickup trucks, arrive to be loaded with boxes and boxes of peaches to take back to Fayetteville and the surrounding communities. Pearson Farm has been donating these peaches to Mr. Otis and his band of angels for a few years now. Due to strict sale standards by grocery stores, we have a small percentage of our peaches that cannot be sold commercially. There is nothing wrong with them, they just have no shelf life and need a “ready to eat” home. The partnership between Pearson Farm and these folks has been like a marriage made in heaven.

    Earlier this season, Mr. Al and I followed their convoy back to Fayetteville so we could see firsthand where the peaches were going. To say I was humbled, would be an understatement. The work these amazing people are doing in their community is nothing short of God sent. Our first stop was a church whose freezer was filled with boxes of peaches for their food pantry. In the church parking lot, a car was loaded for the sweetest lady who told us stories of the peach cobblers and dinners her group makes to feed the homeless on a street corner in Griffin every Friday night. We spent time at yet another church watching volunteers filling sack lunches that would be delivered in a local neighborhood to feed at-risk children. We then went to Mr. Otis’ home where we witnessed cars and trucks pull in and pick up peaches that were being delivered to childrens group homes, senior adult centers, food banks and homeless shelters, and we ended our day at the Real Life Center, an incredible program serving families in Fayette County. We shook hands and hugged men and women who thanked us over and over again….… they were thanking us??? I have to admit, after what we had witnessed, we were embarrassed that these people who are giving so selflessly were thanking us ....for some peaches.

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    As this peach season draws to a close, I will certainly miss these weekly visits from Mr. Otis, Janet and Becky, and I will look forward to next May when that grey van makes its way back down to Pearson Farm. Mr. Otis called last week and told me that he was writing a thank you letter to Pearson Farm, and he wanted me to post it. Honestly, I was hesitant because I know that Mr. Al and Lawton also belong to the human angel population and provide these peaches as an act of true servitude. Their motivation is from a place of God-centeredness not self-centeredness. They want no attention or reward and would never want any recognition that would take away from the work Mr. Otis and his people are doing. However, because #1, I couldn’t tell Mr. Otis No, #2, it gave me an opportunity to share just a little bit about the incredible work he and his group are doing for their community and #3, I am so proud of the Pearson Farm “FAMILY”, I decided to make it this weeks “FAMILY” post. Thank you so much Mr. Otis, Janet, Becky and the rest of your wonderful volunteers! The Pearson Farm “FAMILY” is honored…..let me say it again, we are HONORED to be associated with you and to be able to offer a small contribution to the enormous work you are doing for your community. Most importantly, we feel blessed that we can call you a part of our “FAMILY.”

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    Dear Al and the Pearson Farm Family group,
    We have come to the end of another amazing peach season. Your generous contribution of 48,600 peaches during the summer of 2016 has put peaches into the mouths of at least 20 plus shelters, homes and food banks that we supplement with vegetables and melons from our Plant a Row for the Hungry initiative.

    The following is a partial list of those the Pearson Farm have helped to feed fresh, beautiful peaches:
    Christian City Children’s Home (48 children)
    Murphy Family – 17 special needs children adopted from foster care
    Five Loaves and Two Fishes food bank Griffin, GA
    Fayette County Youth Protection Home
    Fayette County Battered Women’s Shelter
    Calvary Refuge Center in Forest Park – homeless shelter for women and children
    Clayton County Senior Adults in financial need
    2400 school lunches program for children identified as at risk
    Griffin Women’s shelter
    Wellspring –shelter for women trying to escape prostitution
    Carver Road Baptist Church food pantry Griffin, GA
    Pleasant Grove Church food bank in Jackson, GA
    Vineyard Church food bank in Senoia, GA
    Share the meals for the homeless in Griffin, GA
    New Hope Baptist Church food bank Fayetteville, GA
    Real Life Center Food Bank Peachtree City, Ga
    Samaritan’s Food Bank Fayetteville, GA
    Fayetteville First Baptist Church homebound ministry

    The Pearson peaches are a special treat for these people. The peaches add a new dimension to our distribution. Most of these children and many of the adults have never had a tree ripened fresh peach. It is a special blessing to see their joy as they receive your gift. All the Pearson Farm employees have been extremely helpful in supporting this project. We are so grateful and humbled by your support.

    Everyone leaves a footprint. The Pearson Farm family footprint is very large and pointing in the right direction.
    Most sincerely,
    Otis Lester Bray

     

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